Shock and awesome: Raiders continue element of surprise

The element of surprise has been a staple of the NFL since its inception, but perhaps no team has embodied the spirit of surprise more than the Oakland Raiders.

Al Davis didn't have a bag of surprises; he had a stadium full of them. He hired under-the-radar coaches. He drafted little-known wide receivers rounds earlier than most other teams would have.

For God's sake, he once took a kicker in the first round.

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So no one, with this history, should have been surprised that the Raiders -- on a day they were honoring their late owner and desperate after losing their starting quarterback in the first half -- would attempt a fake field goal against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

But mysteriously the Browns were.

Coach Hue Jackson and special teams coach John Fassel went into their large bag of tricks late in the third quarter, and on fourth down from the Cleveland 35, Shane Lechler -- the team's holder on kicks -- threw to a wide-open Kevin Boss in the flat, and the tight end raced to the end zone for the score that demoralized the Browns and essentially put them away.

The Raiders, who over the years had regularly practiced fake field goals, had identified something on video in the Browns' alignment that made this the week they went for it. Lechler even diagrammed the play for the CBS announcing team prior to the game.

"We've run that play in practice for 12 years," Lechler said. "This is the first time we got to do it."

The play was only a sign of a bigger surprise to come for the Raiders. In the spirit of their late owner, Oakland shocked everyone by trading for Carson Palmer Tuesday morning, giving up a king's ransom in the process, salary cap be damned.

Somewhere, Al Davis is smiling.

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